Use of the comma and "or" at the end
Thread poster: Hikmat Faraj

Hikmat Faraj  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:07
English to Arabic
+ ...
Oct 12, 2012


I am translating a long series of questions where examples of a product category are given, These examples are strings of words, separated by commas, and the last word is preceded by "or".


Do you have any stationary items (such as pens, pensils, erasers, or paper)?:

Following the rule that in Arabic we never used the comma alone without a conjunction, my question is:

Which translation is better Arabic writing?

  1. هل لديك أية أدوات قرطاسية (كأقلام الحبر، أو أقلام الرصاص، أو المحايات، أو الورق)؟

  2. هل لديك أية أدوات قرطاسية (كأقلام الحبر، وأقلام الرصاص، والمحايات، أو الورق)؟

My gut feel is to use option 1, which shows more consistency that the question is selective, whereas in option two it is both inclusive and selective.

I welcome and appreciate your input.



TargamaT team  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:07
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
بعض علامات الترقيم Oct 13, 2012

الخيار الأول هو الصحيح طبعًا


لا توجد فاصلة قبل أو لأن أو هي نفسها فاصلة ويصدق الأمر نفسه على واو العطف

بالنسبة لاستعمال أية، فهو غير صحيح لغويا والصواب أي

فبأي آلاء ربكما تكذبان


Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
+ ...
I would use "or" without commas. Oct 13, 2012

The commas in the English sentence stand for "or." Option 2 mixes "and" with "or" for no clear reason. The correct conjunction in all instances in this series is "or." The comma is redundant and only serves to add clutter. Your editor may balk at the lack of commas in the Arabic translation. If questioned about it, just explain that Arabic follows a different tradition, where conjunctions in a series are treated the same as a conjunction between two items: no comma.

If you insist on using commas, though, do not leave a space before the comma. Leave a space after the comma.


Hikmat Faraj  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:07
English to Arabic
+ ...
Use of the comma and "or" at the end Oct 24, 2012

A belated and overdue "Thanks!" to both of you for your help. For some mysterious reason your posts didn't reach me until this morning. I had activated email tracking and somehow there must have been a glitch in the system. I guess checking here is more reliable for posts.

I did apply the "aw" without the comma and the editor didn't fuss. So all went well.

Alf shukr



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Use of the comma and "or" at the end

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